Salah spot on as Liverpool down Spurs in Champions League final
June 02 2019 12:03 AM
Liverpool celebrate with the trophy after winning the champions league
Liverpool celebrate with the trophy after winning the champions league

Dpa/Madrid

A controversial penalty just two minutes into the game and a late strike from Divock Origi gave Liverpool a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in an underwhelming Champions League final on Saturday in Madrid.

Mohamed Salah rammed home the spot-kick after Moussa Sissoko was harshly deemed to have handled Sadio Mane's cross after only 23 seconds to make Liverpool continental champions for the sixth time.

Spurs, appearing in their first elite final, seemed overawed by the occasion and a late snapshot from substitute Lucas Moura was their only sight of an equalizer.

Liverpool sealed the contest three minutes from time when Origi drove home from an angle to start the celebrations for a first title for under manager Juergen Klopp.

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino made the difficult decision to drop semi-final hat-trick hero Moura for England striker Harry Kane, who had not played since early April with an ankle injury.

It was Moura, with a poked effort inside the box, who had Spurs' only real opportunity in the closing stages after Liverpool keeper Alisson palmed away a long shot from Son Heung Min.

Kane looked sluggish but was not the only one off pace in a game played in the distinctly un-English conditions of 30-degree Celsius heat.

The slow tempo was in contrast to a furious start when Mane latched onto a long ball from Virgil van Dijk and took on Sissoko. The French midfielder blocked the cross with his chest but a deflection took the ball onto his raised arm and Damir Skomina pointed to the spot.

Video assistance did not come to Spurs rescue - unlike in their quarter-final win over Manchester City - and Salah's powerful kick flew over diving keeper Hugo Lloris.

It proved sweet redemption for Egyptian star Salah, who suffered an injury in last season's final defeat to Real Madrid which also impacted his performances at the World Cup.

Spurs laboured in search of an equalizer before their dreams were finally ended by substitute Origi. A corner was not cleared and the forward found the bottom corner from Joel Matip's pass.

Premier League runners-up Liverpool finished 26 points ahead of Spurs but such a difference was not to be seen at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. The three week break from the end of the Premier League seemed to have stiffened rather than loosened muscles.

Liverpool manager Klopp had lost six consecutive finals, including two in the Champions League, going into the game, and would have been anxious at his team sitting back and inviting pressure.

Kane finally showed himself with a neat flick to release Dele Alli but he was easily crowded out, a fate all too often shared by fellow winger Son. Matip was a particular rock in the Liverpool defence, though man of the match went to his partner van Dijk.

Spurs emerged early from the break only marginally more energized and Alli's half chance was blocked by the ever-present Matip. The introduction of Moura for midfielder Harry Winks, in the 65th minute, finally offered the lumbering Kane some assistance.

 Origi replaced Roberto Firmino, another who had overcome fitness doubts to start, and James Milner came on for Georginio Wijnaldum either side of the Spurs switch.

 Milner flashed a shot just wide before Tottenham had their only spell of slight pressure. It ended when Alisson turned Christian Erikson's free kick wide and Origi sealed their fate soon after.

Spurs were the 40th club to reach the European Cup final and would have become the 23rd side to lift the trophy. They never looked like doing so; Klopp, and Liverpool, could celebrate.

Last updated: June 02 2019 12:19 AM


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